$100k penalty for Kiwi spammer

Queensland-based Kiwi seeks settlement

One of three New Zealand citizens has admitted his part in an international spamming operation and will pay a penalty of $100,000 plus costs of $7,666.

Lance Atkinson, based in Queensland, sought settlement soon after the Department of Internal Affairs announced court proceedings against him in October, the department says in a statement released today. Two other defendants, his brother Shane Atkinson, and courier Roland Smits, of Christchurch, are contesting the claim and have filed statements of defence.

Meanwhile, Lance Atkinson is still to face US court action brought against him by the Federal Trade Commission.

The case is the first court action under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

More than two million unsolicited electronic messages were sent to New Zealand computers between 5 September 2007 and 31 December 2007. These emails marketed Herbal King, Elite Herbal and Express Herbal branded pharmaceutical products, manufactured and shipped by Tulip Lab of India, through a business known as the Genbucks Affiliate Programme. This business was operated by Genbucks Ltd, a company incorporated in the Republic of Mauritius.

Internal Affairs’ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit Manager, Joe Stewart, welcomed the decision.

“This is a first under the new law and is just reward for the effort put in by our investigators and overseas agencies, particularly the FTC,” Stewart said.

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